The Download on Podcasts: A rate sheet for podcast producers hints at growing professionalism

DOWNLOAD ON PODCASTS logo 03 with podcastone 300wThe Download on Podcasts is a weekly feature sponsored by PodcastOne.

As podcasting continues its fast-pace resurgence, more formal business structures are entering the industry. One headline example of the past two weeks is the three-part agreement between AudioBoom, Cumulus Media, and its subsidiary Westwood One. In that alliance, Cumulus radio programming will move into the on-demand realm on the AudioBoom platform, already a major podcast distributor.

Institutional deals like that signal a maturation of podcasting, as big media entities build on-ramps to competitive streaming talk programming. But what about independent creators? How is the life of a freelance or semi-pro podcaster being affected by the increased reach, awareness, and importance of the category?

Air Media, a coalition of audio producers specializing in public service media, has developed (perhaps “invented” is a better word) a rate sheet for freelance podcasting work. The group worked with the Public Radio News Directors Association to craft a pay-rate model for producers contributing to podcasts.

podcast rate sheet

The model distinguishes three levels of production effort, and three levels of producer expertise. Nny project intersects that matrix at a price point that ranges from $375 to $1,500 per produced segment. One-off projects such as pilot productions of original ideas are priced up to $15,000.

Called A Podcasting Rate Guide for Independent Audio Producers, the price model provides an interesting reference point — if one that might appear as an arbitrary wish-list to many podcasters.

The real importance here lies in fleshing out a view of industry provision, as podcasting evolves into a production platform that could some day rival both music and radio in popularity and quality. Podcasting is still in mid-evolution, growing out of its reputation as nothing more than a hobby. Hobbyism will always be in the genre, as in music and radio (e.g. LPFM, indie online radio), but professional structures open doors to professionalism.


Brad Hill